[nfbmi-talk] Fw: [Nfb-kzoo] Another Article

Larry Posont president.nfb.mi at gmail.com
Sun Feb 21 18:29:42 UTC 2010

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "J.J. Meddaugh" <jj at bestmidi.com>
To: "NFB of Michigan List" <nfbmi-talk at nfbnet.org>; "NFB of Kalamazoo 
Michigan List" <nfb-kzoo at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Saturday, February 20, 2010 9:57 PM
Subject: [Nfb-kzoo] Another Article

> This one is not as positive, but putting it here anyway so you can see all 
> of the coverage as it happens.
> It's from the Kalamazoo Shopper, one of those free weekly papers with not 
> a lot of reporting.
> Commission For the Blind Training Center Director Is Fired over Safety 
> Violation
> By Jonathan Kleyer
> The Director of the Michigan Comission for the Blind Training Center in 
> Kalamazoo,
> was fired February 4th for violating safety regulations.
> Patrick Cannon, the director for the commission, announced on January 28th 
> that Christine
> Boone's employment was to be terminated because of a marksmanship program 
> Boone established
> at the training center. Boone was placed on paid administrative leave 
> until a disciplinary
> conference could be held, at the end of which she was officially fired.
> According to Mario Morrow, the director of communications for the 
> Department of Energy,
> Labor and Economic Growth (DELEG), the disciplinary conference was an 
> investigation
> into her actions on the marksmanship class.
> Boone was charged with violating civil service rule 2-20 and regulation 
> 2.05, both
> of which deal with firearms and workplace safety.
> "Basically she implemented and developed a class, she had firearms brought 
> onto the
> grounds and there was a conference. First there were disciplinary charges 
> brought
> and at the conclusion of the conference she was terminated," Morrow said. 
> "There
> was a wide range of options that could have been taken. After carefully 
> reviewing
> the options that were available, the confidence level in her ability to 
> work within
> the parameters of department rules was not there anymore."
> The training center is meant to provide training and services to blind and 
> visually
> impaired residents of the state. According to the commission's website, 
> MCBTC staff
> believe in the capabilities of individuals who are blind to participate in 
> every
> activity of daily living."
> Boone's marksmanship program fit with this belief, but the program was 
> canceled because
> of what Morrow called "serious, serious safety issues."
> The National Federation of the Blind of Michigan held a rally in Lansing 
> January
> 29th protesting the firing. Its president, Larry Posont, claimed that the 
> firing
> was an abuse of Cannon's power, saying that the marksmanship program was 
> to use a
> pellet gun and that under Michigan law, it is not considered a firearm so 
> long as
> it is under .177 caliber.
> Posont stated, "Christine Boone has been doing an exemplary job of 
> creating a quality
> training program for blind individuals that sets high expectations for 
> students,
> instills in them a positive philosophy of blindness, and helps them to 
> compete for
> quality jobs in the labor market. Mr. Cannon is using trumped-up charges 
> about a
> single aspect of the training program in order to discredit Ms. Boone."
> The organization's rally ultimately had no effect on the outcome of the 
> disciplinary
> conference. When asked about it, Morrow commented, "We have the utmost 
> respect for
> freedom of speech and right to demonstration, but we have a diligent duty 
> to make
> sure all our employees and constituents are safe. You've got rules, you've 
> got regulations.
> You can't take a firearm to work. We have to take safety seriously."
> Until a new director can be found for the training center, Bruce Shultz 
> will be the
> acting director. Morrow said that DELEG's personnel department is handling 
> a posting
> for the position. He also commented that the department has confidence in 
> Shultz's
> ability as the acting director, so there has been no press to get a 
> permanent director
> back in. According to him, they intend to allow time for the search to 
> yield the
> best results.
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